The Section 251 budget statement contains financial information about the planned expenditure on:
- Schools budget
- High needs budget
- Early years budget
- Children's and young people's services
The Section 251 outturn statement provides the information on what was actual spent:
- Spending by schools and the local authority within the schools budget
- Expenditure on Children's and Young People's Services
- School level information, with a summary of individual schools' expenditure in respect of the previous financial year only
This information is used by the Department of Education in a number of ways, including to create financial benchmarking.
The analysis planned budgets vs actual spend is also an important aspect of the work of the Schools Forum.